[NOTE: This movie has some strong violence and language and is definitely NOT for kids.]
In a time when most movies are reboots and remakes, an original movie is a rare find indeed. Pan's Labyrinth is a very unique film. It's about a young girl named Ofelia, who's living during the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in the 1940's. She and her pregnant mother move to the country to be with her Step-Father who's an army captain. Almost right away, fantastical things start happening to Ofelia.
Now, the plot of this movie is just like a fairy tale, even if it is an extremely dark one. In the opening narration, we're told that the one day, the curious princess of the underworld escaped into the human world. However, the brightness of the sun blinded her and made her forget who she was, and eventually, she died. However, it was legend that the princess' spirit would someday return home. Now, it turns out that Ofelia is the lost princess, and has to complete three tasks to prove that she is worthy.
This movie features some very good acting performances, the most notable being the lead, Ofelia. She was absolutely terrific, and really made you feel for the character.
As a fantasy, there are tons of stunning visuals in this movie. There's some really good costumes and CGI, though perhaps the most engaging of all the various fantastical elements in the movie were two characters called The Faun and The Pale Man.
He moves almost stiffly, kind of lofty but also sort of graceful in a way. If any of you have seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, think about how Sally walks around and you've sort of got the idea.
This movie is very dark and atmospheric, and beautifully executed. The scenery is gorgeous, and the cinematography was just... wow. There was heavy use of segue, and the scenes were lit so that you see just enough. It was dark, but not poorly lit. If that makes... any sense?
The music in this movie is probably one of my favorite things about it. The music is actually the reason we rented it and watched it! I all happened one day when I was browsing around YouTube, and found a song from it-
Isn't that one of the most beautiful pieces of music you've ever heard? The whole soundtrack is consistently good, and fits the movie perfectly. I'd actually like to devote a whole post to the soundtrack, kind of like what I did with the Spirited Away OST, so I'll be moving on for now.
The Verdict: A
Pan's Labyrinth is a visually stunning film with a moving story. It's executed beautifully, and the end product is a terrific work of art. Not to say that there aren't flaws, though. It should be noted that this movie contains some very bad language(most of it is spoken by nasty stepfather), and scenes of violence. Most of these are lit so you only see the outlines of what is happening, but it's still brutal. There's also some moral ambiguity concerning some characters. However, in the important aspects of morality, this movie gets it right.
This movie, while not for everyone, is a chilling dark fantasy, and a unique change from the usual fare.